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61 year old barefoot runner set to take on T&T Marathon, 5k races

French diplomat Sidy Diallo, 61, who has run marathons on seven continents, barefooted—48 in 2013 alone—is expected to be on the starting line when the 36th edition of the 26.2 miles T&T International Marathon (T&TIM) runs off of Sunday January 21, 2017. Photo: T&T Guardian
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago- Sidy Diallo, a 61-year-old a French diplomat who has run marathons on seven continents, barefooted—48 in 2013 alone—is expected to be on the starting line when the 36th edition of the 26.2 miles T&T International Marathon (T&TIM) runs off of Sunday January 21, 2017 from Freeport to the finish line at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.

This was confirmed by T&TIM executive member Dianne Henderson, chairperson of the T&T International Marathon Committee at a media briefing to announce the support of Kiss Baking Company Limited and the Diabetes Association of T&T (DATT) for the event at T&T Olympic House, 121 Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, December 29, 2017.

According to the Trinidad & Tobago Guardian, next year’s staging of the event will be held over two days and will be a special one as it will coincide with the 200th year anniversary of the Queen’s Park Savannah.

On the first day of the two-day of activities, the 5K event will come off on Saturday January 20, 2017 with the 26.2 miles grind set for 24-hours later, with the athletes involved in the walking competition to start at 3.30 A.M.
In addition to the two main events, there will also be the National Flour Mills Command Performance-sponsored Relays.

Henderson noted that Diallo reached out to the local organisers via the internet as has been in regular contact with regards to the registration process.

164 marathons across 61 countries

She added: “Diallo, who turns 62 on March 22, 2018, is a very well known name in running circles around the world now as he has competed in 164 marathons across 61 countries and seven continents and has also signaled his intentions to participate in the 5K event on Saturday January 20, 2017.

Diallo used to work out in the gyms until early July 2010, then he came upon an ad for a race called the Bastille Day 5K, stating that the race was relocated in Lincoln Park, the neighbourhood in Chicago, Illinois, where he was posted as the French deputy consul from 2008 to 2012.

Speaking at the media briefing yesterday, T&T International Marathon Committee member, Anthony Harford said that overall race organisers are hoping for a combined entry total of just under 1,000.

Harford said, “We have set a target of 750 entries for the 5k event; 60 teams in the relay and about 200 for the marathon.

Harford also used the opportunity to introduced two news sponsors who have come on board to support the T&T International Marathon.

With the January 20-21, 2017 weekend featuring three races, Harford stated that Kiss Baking Company Limited has come on board to sponsor the 5k on Saturday which will now be called the T&T International Marathon Kiss International 5k which takes place in the St Clair district.

Defending champs to return

Heading the list of entries for this year’s marathon will be defending men and women champions, Jose Alejandro Vare of Venezuela and Kenyan, Leah Kigen.

For next month’s event, there will be an equal prize money of US$5,000 for the winner of the men and women

Apart from the major prizes, there will also be on offer, a $5,000 T&T reward to the local athletes to break the existing T&T records for both the men and women marathon.

As it stands, USA-based Ronnie Holassie holds the record with a time of two hours, 17.33 minutes set in 1998 while Tonya Nero’s two hours, 56.33 minutes stands as the women’s record set this year.

With regards to the composition of entrants, Henderson said that it was unclear as to which other athletes from overseas would be making the journey to T&T, but at the same time, a large number of entries may come in from Latin America, namely Venezuela due to the prizes on offer and should register before the close of entries on January 12, 2017.

Overall, the top seven finishers in both the men and women categories will be granted cash prizes.

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